Friday, July 04, 2014

Going for Gauld

Losing a young talent from the Scottish game is not normally a reason for rejoicing.

But Ryan Gauld's decision to leave Dundee United for Sporting Lisbon is surely an exceptional case.

Not for Gauld the well worn path of the lower reaches of the English Premier League or the English Championship.

And not for Gauld the irresistible lure of Glasgow.

Instead he gets the chance to further develop his already abundant skills in a completely different football environment.

It's a strangely expansive choice from a Scottish youngster and an entirely refreshing one.

The road to superstardom is rarely smooth. If he was a reality TV contestant Gauld would acknowledge this as being nothing more than the start of his journey.

But if that journey is successful his stay in Portugal could bring huge benefits to a national side that is already improving under Gordon Strachan.

A huge opportunity for Gauld himself, a potentially huge bonus for Scotland and, for Dundee United, a multi-million pound windfall and vindication that their youth policy can deliver huge dividends.

If this transfer is unlikely to become a template that all Scottish youngster will aspire to, it should at least act as inspiration for other clubs to strain every muscle into developing youngsters with the technical gifts to interest clubs across Europe. And, as an added bonus, that means they'll also be developing youngsters with the market value to make our clubs far more sustainable.

From a youngster overcoming the narrow horizons of so many of his predecessors to a Scottish club enjoying a whopping win in Europe.

Last night Aberdeen overcame the usual Scottish angst of an early start to European qualifying by knocking five goals past Latvia's Daugava Riga in front of over 15,000 fans at Pittodrie.

With the Latvian league well underway and the Scottish Premiership over a month from kick off the normal excuses for underperforming were in place.

Aberdeen ignored them with some style.

The second leg should be a formality but will hopefully allow Derek McInnes to build up even more momentum before a clash with FC Groningen in the next qualifying round.

The World Cup might be going on without us. We might have lost one of our most talented young players to a foreign league.

But the last few days have given Scottish football at least a couple of reasons to be cheerful.

Small steps for sure. But maybe, just maybe the "New Firm" are ready to breathe life into the game again.

It might not be long before we're partying like its 1983.